The Constitution of America requires that the U.S. Census count every resident in the United States, every 10 years.
Starting in March 2010, census forms are being delivered to every residence in the United States and Puerto Rico. Once you receive your form, you are supposed to answer the 10 short questions and then mail the form back in the postage-paid envelope that is included in the package. If you don’t mail the form back, you will likely receive a visit from a census taker, who will ask you the same questions from the form and will fill the form for you.
The questions are mainly related to the number of family members in the household, type of residence and. telephone number. Name, date of birth and race of each person is also part of the questionnaire. The information you provide is confidential and for the purpose of obtaining population statistics mainly. According to the Census, “Your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.”
The Census is also a very powerful tool to understand the racial mix of the country. The questions related to identifying the race of every person of the household is a multiple choice question listing different races including ‘Asian Indian’ for residents of Indian (India) origin. Make sure not to confuse this with ‘American Indian’ – the valid choice for Aboriginal or Native Americans, not for Asian Indians.
This question on race has been asked since 1790 and the reason is explained next to the question on the form:
“Race is key to implementing several federal laws and is needed to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act. State governments use the data to determine congressional, state and local voting districts. Race data is also used to assess fairness of employment practices, to monitor racial disparities in characteristics such as health and education and to plan and obtain funds for public services.”
According to the Census official website:
“The 2010 Census will help communities receive more than $400 billion in federal funds each year for things like:
- Job training centers
- Senior centers
- Bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects
- Emergency services…”
This is your opportunity to make yourself count. This data will be used by different agencies to decide how big the Asian Indian population in USA is. If you don’t return the forms by mail, the Census workers will be canvassing the neighborhoods to collect this data from the missing households.
The following is from the Census website:
“All census takers carry official government badges marked with just their name.
“You may also ask them for a picture ID from another source to confirm their identity”
And note that, for your personal safety:
“If you still are not certain about their identity, please call the Regional Census Center to confirm they’re employed by the Census Bureau. Most importantly, the Census Bureau will NEVER, under any circumstances, ask to enter your home.” They are supposed to ask you the census questions, standing outside your entry door.
For more details, you may visit the official Census website listed below. For common questions, here is a link to Census Day questions answered. CNN also has a very informative article Census Day questions answered.
Census 2010 Official website
- USA Census 2010: Make yourself count as Asian Indians II
- New immigrants’ guide to the United States of America
- The ABC of Race Relations in USA – India Abroad!
- Change in US Labor Force by Race and Ethnicity
- US Employment scene by Race and Ethnicity
- I am not racist, but my brain may be!
- NRIs and India diaspora – the key challenges abroad!